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A Legal Counsel supervises the legal aspects of a business. They give accurate and timely counsel to executives on a variety of legal topics, such as labor law, partnerships, or international ventures.

Legal Counsel Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real legal counsel resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Achieve statewide recognition as expert on Medicare and Medicaid.
  • Manage high-risk employee terminations from initial decision through preparation for appeals hearings and any subsequent legal action.
  • Assist in liaising with insurance authorities, responding to regulatory inquiries and managing relationship with region from legal and business perspective.
  • Conduct anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) due diligence on a daily basis.
  • Ensure compliance with federal securities laws, NYSE rules, and Sarbanes-Oxley requirements.
  • Draft position statements for EEO and other regulatory claims.
  • Attend and prepare for hearings on appeal for veterans' claims.
  • Guarantee compliance with BSA regulations by updating client files with foreign bank certificates.
  • Assist and advise executive management and the board of directors on corporate and securities laws.
  • Review and assist in all personnel matters for the company including all EEOC compliance and litigation matters.
  • Draft and negotiate complex technology contracts, including SaaS, licensing, confidentiality, open-source and use agreements.
  • Support various committees of the board for NYSE list company, including the drafting of agendas and minutes.
  • Train dozens of managers on issues such as: EEO, harassment, and conducting effective internal investigations.
  • Authore HIPAA and internal business-relate policies and procedures.
  • Coordinate and participate in responding to document subpoenas and interrogatories.

Legal Counsel Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 11% of Legal Counsels are proficient in Legal Advice, Legal Issues, and Litigation. They’re also known for soft skills such as Analytical skills, Interpersonal skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Legal Counsels that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Legal Advice, 11%

    Provided legal advice to senior management with respect to potential disputes arising from or related to regulatory or legislative changes.

  • Legal Issues, 9%

    Handled legal issues involving personnel including hiring, discipline, termination, workers compensation, and unemployment compensation.

  • Litigation, 8%

    Created and directed litigation strategies, including human resource related issues, general corporate liability, contract liability and products liability.

  • Legal Support, 7%

    Provide legal support to management in all operational and administrative areas.

  • Intellectual Property, 5%

    Negotiated and drafted intellectual property agreements, consulting agreements, procurement agreements, non-disclosure agreements, and joint development agreements.

  • Legal Risks, 4%

    Updated management on legislative changes and advised management of legal risks in marketing area.

"legal advice," "legal issues," and "litigation" aren't the only skills we found legal counsels list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of legal counsel responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a legal counsel to have happens to be analytical skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "lawyers help their clients resolve problems and issues" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that legal counsels can use analytical skills to "initiated client contact, coverage analysis and liability investigation, established reserves, litigation management & budgeting and developed resolution strategy. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many legal counsel duties rely on interpersonal skills. This example from a legal counsel explains why: "lawyers must win the respect and confidence of their clients by building a trusting relationship so that clients feel comfortable enough to share personal information related to their case." This resume example is just one of many ways legal counsels are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "employed interpersonal skills with outside counsel regarding litigation strategies for unresolved matters against the company. "
  • Problem-solving skills is also an important skill for legal counsels to have. This example of how legal counsels use this skill comes from a legal counsel resume, "lawyers must separate their emotions and prejudice from their clients’ problems and objectively evaluate the relevant applicable information" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "helped company develop and implement business and revenue growth strategies and improved company litigation and claims resolution efforts and processes. "
  • A thorough review of lots of resumes revealed to us that "research skills" is important to completing legal counsel responsibilities. This resume example shows just one way legal counsels use this skill: "lawyers need to be able to find those laws and regulations which apply to a specific matter, in order to provide the appropriate legal advice for their clients." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical legal counsel tasks: "researched and aided in the discovery of litigation evidence into the side effects of diet medications for major class action suit. "
  • Yet another important skill that a legal counsel must demonstrate is "speaking skills." Lawyers must be able to clearly present and explain their case to arbitrators, mediators, opposing parties, judges, or juries, because they are speaking on behalf of their clients. This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a legal counsel who stated: "led litigation aspects of all business segments devising legal strategies and recommendations to be presented to upper management. "
  • Lastly, this career requires you to be skillful in "writing skills." According to legal counsel resumes, "lawyers need to be precise and specific when preparing documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney." This resume example highlights how legal counsel responsibilities rely on this skill: "performed legal research and writing in support of federal administration objectives. "
  • See the full list of legal counsel skills.

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    What Staff Attorneys Do

    Staff Attorneys are legal employees who work for a variety of organizations, often as full-time employees. They use their legal expertise to help deal with day-to-day legal issues with which their organization needs regular assistance.

    In this section, we compare the average legal counsel annual salary with that of a staff attorney. Typically, staff attorneys earn a $22,839 lower salary than legal counsels earn annually.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both legal counsels and staff attorneys positions are skilled in legal advice, legal issues, and litigation.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A legal counsel responsibility is more likely to require skills like "legal risks," "excellent interpersonal," "in-house counsel," and "ethics." Whereas a staff attorney requires skills like "juris," "appeals," "administrative agencies," and "real estate." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Staff attorneys receive the highest salaries in the professional industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $113,835. But legal counsels are paid more in the technology industry with an average salary of $159,575.

    Staff attorneys tend to reach lower levels of education than legal counsels. In fact, staff attorneys are 7.0% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 14.7% more likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of an Attorney?

    Generally, an attorney's responsibility is to advise the client with an ongoing lawsuit on the legal procedures and provide strategies to resolve the case as early as possible. An attorney compiles necessary documents or any records for appeal and client's defense. Attorneys must acquire strong problem-solving and critical-thinking skills to mediate disputes and settle pending litigation for the client's best interest. In some cases, an attorney's procedure depends on any evidence and research presented during the trial period. An attorney is expected to present clients on legal proceedings, seeking justice and justifying the law.

    Now we're going to look at the attorney profession. On average, attorneys earn a $23,391 lower salary than legal counsels a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Legal counsels and attorneys both include similar skills like "legal advice," "legal issues," and "litigation" on their resumes.

    While some skills are similar in these professions, other skills aren't so similar. For example, several resumes showed us that legal counsel responsibilities requires skills like "legal support," "legal risks," "excellent interpersonal," and "in-house counsel." But an attorney might use skills, such as, "law firm," "juris," "appeals," and "trial preparation."

    When it comes to the differences in education between the two professions, attorneys tend to reach lower levels of education than legal counsels. In fact, they're 6.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 14.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How an Attorney At Law Compares

    An Attorney at Law is responsible for preparing and examining contracts involving leases, licenses, purchases, sales, etc. They advise clients concerning business transactions, claim liability, or legal rights and obligations.

    Let's now take a look at the attorney at law profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than legal counsels with a $24,849 difference per year.

    By looking over several legal counsels and attorneys at law resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "legal advice," "legal issues," and "litigation." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from legal counsels resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "legal support," "legal risks," "excellent interpersonal," and "in-house counsel." But a attorney at law might have skills like "law firm," "juris," "trial preparation," and "criminal law."

    Interestingly enough, attorneys at law earn the most pay in the retail industry, where they command an average salary of $120,546. As mentioned previously, legal counsels highest annual salary comes from the technology industry with an average salary of $159,575.

    Attorneys at law typically study at similar levels compared with legal counsels. For example, they're 4.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 10.4% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Lawyer

    A lawyer is a legal practitioner who specializes in understanding and interpreting laws and other legal matters. Their responsibilities revolve around providing legal counseling and advice, representing clients in different kinds of court proceedings, conducting research, collecting evidence, and coordinating with various experts. A lawyer must also manage and oversee the performance of assistants, paralegals, and other team members. Furthermore, there are instances when a lawyer must draft or manage documents such as contracts, trusts, deeds, and wills, assisting clients as needed.

    Lawyers tend to earn a lower pay than legal counsels by about $17,059 per year.

    While both legal counsels and lawyers complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like legal advice, legal issues, and litigation, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    Each job requires different skills like "legal risks," "excellent interpersonal," "in-house counsel," and "ethics," which might show up on a legal counsel resume. Whereas lawyer might include skills like "law firm," "real estate," "civil law," and "juris."

    The average resume of lawyers showed that they earn similar levels of education to legal counsels. So much so that the likelihood of them earning a Master's Degree is 3.0% more. Additionally, they're less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree by 15.5%.

    What a Legal Counsel Does FAQs

    Is It Legal Counsel Or Council?

    It is legal counsel, not council. Counsel means to advise and can be used as a noun or verb, while a council is a group of people convened for advice or consultation and as such only ever used as a noun.

    What Is The Difference Between Counsel And A Lawyer?

    The difference between counsel and a lawyer comes down to their role within the company. Legal counsel, for example, is employed by firms to handle all the legal matters and disputes that they may encounter and do not work independently. Unlike a lawyer who may have his/her own firm or may work independently as an advocate.

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